We announced our CBHS COVID-19 Health and Financial Assistance Program last week, and have already been able to help many of our members on the financial front. In the current climate, we’re encouraged to stay home where possible and maintain social distancing. This makes it difficult to visit providers as we usually would. We’re excited to now announce more on the health and wellbeing services you and your family can access at or from home. Some of these arrangements exist already, others are new. We’ll continue to put more arrangements in place, and we’ll bring you updates as they happen.
Please make the most of these services to either maintain your mental and physical health or assist in your treatment and recovery.
Chemo@home is Australia’s leading provider of home-based infusion services. Their trained nursing staff can administer many treatments safely in the comfort of your own home.
Specialised nurses know that patients undergoing chemotherapy are immunocompromised, so they always take extra precautions to protect you, and your families.
Before undergoing any chemotherapy at home, your doctor will need to confirm your suitability for treatment.
What treatments can be given at home?
Chemo@home performs over 140 different regimens of chemotherapy for many disease types, including breast, colon and lung cancer as well as blood cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Infusions for diseases including MS, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, osteoporosis and anaemia can also be safely delivered at home.
Who administers the treatment?
All the treatments are administered by highly trained, skilled nurses.
What extra precautions are nurses taking?
- Chemo@home nurses put on protective gear BEFORE they enter a house.
- They carry as little equipment into the home as possible.
- They wipe down all machinery e.g. pumps etc before and after entering and leaving your house.
- They carry their own hand sanitiser.
- They practice treatment in isolation as much as they possibly can.
What precautions should patients take?
- Notify your nurse if you’ve been ill.
- Keep family who would normally be in the house away from the room during treatment.
- Make sure there is a clean space for the nurse to work.
During the COVID-19 crisis, abide by all the Federal Government’s advice. Tell your nurse if you are self-isolating because of travel or if you’ve had close contact with someone who has the coronavirus.
Melbourne Oncology and Home Infusion Services
We also have an arrangement with Melbourne Oncology and Home Infusion Service (MOHIS). This is a national service, largely based on Australia’s East Coast, and their specialist nurses all have consolidated backgrounds in acute oncology and community care.
During the current epidemic, MOHIS staff will:
- Continue to carry out visits
- Not come to work if they develop any cold or flu symptoms
- Maintain regular handwashing and hygiene practices
- Not visit self-isolating patients to ensure they do not risk exposing you to the virus
- Not wear a mask when dealing with non-symptomatic patients as it is important to preserve mask supplies for individuals acutely unwell with coronavirus
Are my chemo treatments covered under my policy?
Some chemotherapy and some immunotherapies are covered under CBHS Hospital cover. Call our Wellness Team on 02 9685 7567 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more. Have your doctor’s name and contact details handy when you get in touch.
Dialysis Australia is a respected provider of home services, offering flexible treatment of renal dialysis at home under the care of experienced dialysis nurses. This service is covered under our CBHS Hospital policies.
Home dialysis can give you a choice of treatment times, and is generally associated with better outcomes than hospital-based treatment.
Am I eligible to have dialysis at home?
Dialysis Australia can determine your medical suitability for home dialysis in conjunction with your treating nephrologist.
Is dialysis at home safe?
Home haemodialysis has been safely performed in Australia since the 1970s.
Will I get all the help I need at home?
Yes. Your treatments will be fully supervised by a registered nurse.
Will it cost more?
No. We’re covering any additional cost of home-based treatments on an ex-gratia basis.
What about self-dialysis?
Some patients can eventually reach the point where they self-dialyse. Training can take between four and 12 weeks. Speak to Dialysis Australia if you’d like more information about suitability.
What extra precautions are nurses taking?
- Self-isolating for 14 days if they’ve returned from overseas.
- Stopping work and seeking medical attention if they experience any symptoms, however mild.
- Wearing personal protective equipment during all treatments.
- Asking affected patients or those in isolation to wear masks and sanitise hands.
What extra precautions should patients take?
- Report any new respiratory symptoms before starting dialysis.
- Disinfect hands and ask all visitors to disinfect theirs when entering your home.
- Wear surgical mask if self-isolating or showing any symptoms of COVID-19.
Are my dialysis treatments covered under my policy?
Yes, if you hold an appropriate level of CBHS Hospital cover. Call our Wellness Team on 02 9685 7567 or email email@example.com to find out more.
Most hospital outpatient education has been cancelled, but we understand that bringing a new baby home, and those first few weeks, are something parents-to-be are anxious about preparing for. Birth Beat offers online antenatal and postnatal classes, delivered by a registered midwife. The approach is relaxed but professional, relying on evidence-based, non-biased, up-to-date information.
This three-minute video gives you taste of what to expect.
You can claim under selected CBHS Extras cover for these classes.
Telehealth GP services
The Australian Government has increased access to bulk-billed, Medicare telehealth and phone services under their COVID-19 National Health Plan. Call your GP to ask if they are using telehealth.
We also recommend our partners Instant Consult. While they’re not bulk-billed, they’re far cheaper than comparable alternatives. Instant Consult is currently putting arrangements in place with Chemist Warehouse, so the GP can consult remotely and issue a prescription with the medication then delivered (contact-free) to your home.
Telehealth consults are not claimable on private health insurance.
Allied health services
Our provider Care Connected is a virtual health clinic. They offer allied health services, via telehealth and online, during the daytime and at evenings and weekends. Their teams are led by highly experienced professionals and you can claim for some of their services under certain CBHS Extras cover, just as you would if you were seeing a professional face to face. Services include:
- Exercise Physiology
- Speech Pathology
Do I have to be an existing patient?
No, you can make a new appointment with any recognised provider who is using telehealth or digital delivery.
Are you adding any other services?
We’re looking at a range of services and we’ll update you as the list develops.
Are my treatments covered under my policy?
Treatments using Care Connected professionals are covered under selected CBHS Extras cover, up to your usual limits. Call Member Care on 1300 654 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Digital Wellness has an experienced team of accredited practising dietitians who can help you improve your nutrition via telehealth. The team already support CBHS members with chronic disease to manage their weight and improve their health. Now they are offering individual dietetic sessions via video or phone.
That same team is behind the online CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet with telehealth coaching. Australia’s leading diet system is 100% online and includes delicious meal plans, at-home exercise plans and simple self-monitoring tools to help you lose weight and improve your wellbeing.
You can sign up for the Total Wellbeing Diet 12 Week Program - including 3 telehealth coaching sessions with a dietitian - and claim the program and sessions on Extras, depending on your cover and overall limits. Sign up here: https://my.totalwellbeingdiet.com/registration/AU/cbhsoffer
Call our Wellness Team on 02 9685 7567 or email email@example.com to find out more.
Preparing for elective surgery
Most elective surgery has been postponed, but you can still prepare yourself for when it’s rescheduled. Care Connected has a ‘prehabilitation’ program with nursing support and physiotherapy that can help your eventual recovery.
Their service includes pain management, sleep hygiene, nutrition and self-care, so when you do go into surgery, you’ll be as ready as you can be. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to make a good recovery.
There are no out-of-pocket expenses for members with an appropriate level of Hospital cover.
If you’re recovering from surgery, rehabilitation at home is an option. However, if you need to further isolate yourself because of COVID-19, our providers can offer telehealth rehab programs that run for six to eight weeks.
Dedicated care coordinators guide and support you during the program and keep your surgeon fully informed about your progress. Their services include a raft of telehealth rehab programs to address the challenge of social isolation, from welfare checks and mental health support to remote cardiac rehab. They can also help you prepare for any upcoming surgery.
Most of these services will incur no out-of-pocket expenses if you hold CBHS Hospital cover. Call our Health and Wellness team on 02 9685 7567 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
How do I claim any of these services?
For those services which require a claim, the best way to claim is via the CBHS app or the member portal on the website cbhs.com.au.
If you need more help
If you have questions about your CBHS cover, please call our Member Care team on 1300 654 123.
If you have questions about COVID-19, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 or go online.
If you have older members in your family, the government’s Health Direct website has answers to their most commonly asked questions.
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, call your GP or talk to one of the trained counsellors at any of these organisations:
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Lifeline 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
All information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The information provided should not be relied upon as medical advice and does not supersede or replace a consultation with a suitably qualified healthcare professional.